Swiss Bank May be Forced to Close for Tax Evasion

Swiss bank may be forced to close for tax evasion; the venerable Swiss bank Wegelin admits that they helped wealthy Americans to tax cheat. The Bank shall be liable of a heavy fine to U.S. Internal Revenue Service and may have to close down, reports the BBC.

About one hundred wealthy Americans have through the Swiss bank hidden income equivalent to several billions in secret accounts abroad. According to American prosecutors this has been ongoing for almost 10 years; customers have thereby avoided paying millions in taxes, reports several foreign news channels. Bank customers have been able to open accounts with code names or numbers to minimize references to their real name, according to prosecutors.

Wegelin, which was founded in 1741, has now agreed to pay nearly $ 60 million in fines to the U.S. government, thereby becoming the first foreign bank in the United States that admits themselves guilty of being an accessory to tax evasion, reports BBC. Three Swiss bankers are parallel indicted on charges of aiding tax evasion.

The tax investigation has been ongoing for several years and started in 2008. Charges were brought forward in February 2012 and, according to the Wall Street Journal investigation has increased tensions between the two countries. U.S., among other things had claims on Switzerland to revise the regulation on banking secrecy. U.S. officials have also pressured Switzerland to disclose the names of the Americans who have Swiss bank accounts.

During the last year Swiss authorities have released some information to assist the U.S. authorities in their investigation.

– It has been important to be able to hold both individuals and banks engaged in illegal conduct accountable of depriving the U.S. Treasury of billions in tax revenues, says a prosecutor in a comment to the BBC.

In conclusion there is a big difference between tax planning and tax evasion, the main difference is that proper international tax planning does not include hiding assets or breaking any laws.

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